Nolen has intense physio to be fit for Ascot

By: Mark Mazzaglia
November 20th, 2013

Luke Nolen will undergo intense physiotherapy on his injured knee over the next couple of days before he flies out to Perth on Saturday morning for the Ascot Super Saturday race day featuring two Group 1 races.

Nolen hopes to be fit to ride Moment Of Change in the Winterbottom Stakes.

Nolen hopes to be fit to ride Moment Of Change, above, in the Winterbottom Stakes. Photo by Race Horse Photos Australia.

Nolen is looking to turn around his lean trot of the last couple of months when he partners the Peter Moody trained pair Moment Of Change and Plucky Belle at Ascot, but first has to complete several physiotherapy sessions on his knee that he injured when he was thrown from two year old Bullpit before the running of the first race at Caulfield last Saturday.

A trip to Perth was looking very doubtful as he lay on the ground in the mounting yard but subsequent scans cleared the tough jockey of any major damage and Nolen is confident he will be fit to ride on Saturday.

“It is bone bruising and I’m having physiotherapy to make sure I’m ready to ride in Perth. I’ll ride trackwork on Thursday and Friday and fly to Perth on Saturday morning,” Nolen told the Herald Sun.

Nolen also admits that the last couple of months have been a tough period with winners from the Moody stable not coming as frequently as they have had over the last four years, but he knows that you have to keep working hard and the tide will turn.

The Moody-Nolen combination that took all before them in recent years but has hit a dry patch but the premiership winning jockey is hoping that his trip to Perth will be the turning point for them.

Nolen will combine with Moody on Group 1 winner Moment Of Change in the Group 1 $500,000 Crown Perth – Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) and will also be on last start Flemington winner Plucky Belle in the Group 1 $1m Carlton Draught – Railway Stakes (1600m).

The pair haven’t been in the Group 1 winner’s stall since stable star Black Caviar won her farewell race in the Group 1 $1m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 13.

“It doesn’t bother me. Every jockey and every trainer has good times and lean times. It is part of the game and you must live with it,” Nolen said.

“The way I look at it is I had a good time and then a really bad time (the Brisbane fall) followed by some of the great times of my career. This current down period just makes you appreciate those good times, and to want them back as soon as possible.”

Nolen has ridden the rollercoaster ups and downs and after he rode El Segundo to win the 2007 Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley, recalls suffering multiple injuries from a horror race fall at Doomben in 2008.

The next five years have been as high as you can get being a jockey, riding for the leading stable in the country and being part of the Black Caviar phenomenon, riding twenty-two of her twenty-five consecutive wins.

“The tide will turn, and hopefully very quickly,” Nolen said.

“I’ve been through worse that this and then enjoyed five fabulous years,” Nolen said.

“I know you just have to work hard and I am as keen as ever so there is no reason why the good times won’t roll again.”

Moment Of Change is on the third line of betting for the Winterbottom Stakes at $7.50 with Spirit Of Boom behind dual Group 1 winner Buffering at $2.10 and local hero Barakey at $4.40.

While Plucky Belle is an $8.50 chance with Fire Up Fifi in the Railway Stakes which has last start Group 1 runner up Smokin’ Joey the favourite at $4.20 just ahead of Longport at $6.50.

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